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Gift Guide: Essentials from a New Homeowner’s Must-Have Checklist

Gift Guide: Essentials from a New Homeowner’s Must-Have Checklist

By Kate Bove
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Photo Courtesy: Rich Polk/Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi/Getty Images

Whether you’re a first-time homeowner or you’re a veteran settling into your latest house, you’ll quickly realize that a lot goes into furnishing a new home. Some essentials seem obvious, but other products and gadgets may be missing from your checklist. From kitchen must-haves to bathroom necessities to incredible host gifts for the homeowner who (seemingly) has everything, we’ve compiled a gift guide full of items you won’t want to miss out on.

Bedroom & Living Room Essentials

When it comes to furnishing your comfier living spaces, namely the bedrooms and living room, there’s quite a bit of overlap between the must-haves. In both of these spaces, it’s important to invest in quality lighting: That means finding great lamps, from the AUKEY Touch Sensor Bedside Color-Changing and Dimmable Lamp to the Miroco LED Floor Lamp, and sun-blocking drapes for those days when you just need to sleep in. Both spaces also benefit from creative storage solutions — try wall-mounted floating shelves to store books and knick-knacks — as well as a healthy dose of wall art, which requires quality picture frames and wall-hanging kits.

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Photo Courtesy: Amazon

Additionally, while it may be exciting to own a home with hardwood floors, you’ll quickly notice how much of an echo all of those surfaces can create. For this reason (and others) we recommend breaking things up with some well-chosen area rugs in both the living spaces and bedrooms. Finally, you’ll want to make things comfy, especially after all that unpacking. Be sure to grab some throw pillows for the living room and, when it comes to resting easy, check out our mattress- and pillow-buying guides. (Pro tip: Toss in a mattress pad and protector as well!)

Kitchen Must-Haves & Small Appliances

When you’re moving into your first house or apartment, there are a few must-haves you’ll want on hand before you even move, many of which are kitchen-related. These staples include trash bags and cans, sponges, cleaning supplies, paper products, shelf liners, drawer organizers and dish soap. However, there are some other utility items that you might’ve left off that initial checklist, such as smoke detectors and a fire extinguisher — for when that kitchen stuff goes awry. (But hopefully it won’t!)

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Photo Courtesy: Amazon

While it’s fun to invest in creature comforts, be sure to keep an eye out for essential small appliances, too — a toaster, a microwave and an electric kettle, like the Fellow Stagg EKG Kettle, are all basics we recommend stocking when you first move in. If you’re looking to take your kitchen to the next level, simple gadgets like a spice rack or ice cube trays, or "fancier" appliances, like an Instant Pot pressure cooker, make for great investments — or gifts.

Closet Organization Gadgets & Utility Items

While some rooms get all the fun, the closet is often full of less-exciting — but highly satisfying — items. In addition to the cleaning supplies mentioned above, be sure to buy a good stock of light bulbs and batteries — the things you only think about once it’s too late. As far as other utility-type items go, a new home can feel even more well-equipped when you invest in small, practical gadgets, like a Coleman LED flashlight and the Cartman 148-Piece Tool Set — you know, a robust, non-IKEA brand toolbox.

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Photo Courtesy: Amazon

Whether you’re a fan of Marie Kondo’s KonMari method or you’re someone who shoves everything into the closet without care, investing in some shelf organizers, drawer organizers, under-the-bed storage bags, shoe racks and, of course, hangers can be a big help. Plus, it’s best to have all of your supplies with you before you start the unpacking process; it’s motivating, and it will help you conceptualize the best organizational style for your given project. Finally, complete your closet’s look by adding a full-length Naomi Home Over-the-Door Mirror. Trust us: It’s best to have an option apart from the bathroom mirror.

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Bathroom Must-Haves

Although it may not cross your mind on a day-to-day basis, your bathroom is likely chock-full of small items you can’t live without — or items that seem like they come standard with any bathroom, but, in reality, don’t. These include a rust-resistant shower rod, a fresh mold-resistant shower curtain and liner, a Schluter Systems shower drain (to catch all that pesky hair) and a plunger.

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Photo Courtesy: Lowe’s; houzz; Amazon

Another easy bathroom improvement? This tension shower caddy provides an equal amount of space for everyone’s items. Look, some of us have more hair products or soaps than others, but in order to keep all the "little things" from escalating into full-on arguments with your family members or housemates, it’s important to make sure everyone has their own space — and enough of it. This mentality can extend to other parts of the bathroom as well. If you have a limited amount of room on your towel rack, try a simple over-the-door solution. Finally, this in-bathroom two-roll toilet paper holder allows you to free up some closet space and keep the essentials on-hand — or, erm, in-hand.

Patio & Outdoor Space Necessities

Over the years, you’ve probably accumulated a few inexpensive, portable camping chairs when it seemed like something bigger and better wasn’t worth the investment. But if you’re a new homeowner, clearly it’s time for something a bit more functional. Whether you have access to a backyard, patio or porch, there’s a patio set out there to fit any space and budget. One of our favorites is the Safavieh Rocklin Teak Brown 4-Piece Wood Patio Conversation Set, an elegant spin on the classic picnic table that’s both comfortable and durable.

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Photo Courtesy: Home Depot

If you have some extra budget left over, we also suggest sprucing up your outdoor space with some standout recommendations. From comfortable, portable adirondack-style chairs to string lights, there are affordable ways to make any patio or yard more inviting. Want to kick your hosting game up a notch? A firepit is the ultimate in luxury when it comes to making your outdoor space feel both cozy and fun, and luckily for us, fire pits have become both more affordable and more space-saving. Enter the tabletop fire bowl, a convenient, low-cost solution to a pricier, free-standing fire pit. This product is sure to dazzle guests and add a luxurious feel to your space.

Unique Host Gifts for the Homeowner Who Has Everything

Okay, so maybe you’re feeling quite settled at home, but it’s your friend who has moved recently. If that’s the case, you’ll want to lend to their good vibes and excitement with a unique gift that complements their home and adds some functionality. That is, if you can afford to skip out on decorative knick-knacks or candles, it’ll go a long way in completing your buddy or family member’s space.

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Photo Courtesy: Amazon; Best Buy

First up? One thing a new homeowner might have left off their checklist, but will be remiss to have forgotten, is a fan. There are plenty of portable fans and air conditioners to fit any space, but we’ll narrow it down for you: If you’re looking for something simple and affordable, you can’t go wrong with a classic box fan, like this three-speed model from Toshiba. If you want to step things up a notch, try the Dyson Pure Hot + Cool Link Wi-Fi Enabled Air Purifier, an incredibly powerful (and quiet) bladeless tower fan with triple action capability to cool rooms quickly in the summer, heat rooms quickly in the winter and purify the air all year long.

Are kitchen-friendly items more your recipient’s thing? Try replacing that bottle-of-wine gift with something that leaves a bigger impression, like a wine cooler. Sure, this sounds like an expensive investment, but this 12-bottle wine cooler refrigerator is both easy on the wallet and something to "cheers" to for years to come. If the new homeowner in your life doesn’t imbibe alcohol, a new coffee-maker, like the Nespresso Vertuo Coffee and Espresso Machine by De'Longhi, is sure to win them over.

Finally, new homeowners are proud of their latest (and biggest) investment. As such, they’ll want to rest assured that their home is safe. While there are a ton of impressive security cameras on the market, one of our favorites is the Google Nest Cam Outdoor 1080p Wi-Fi Network Security Camera System, which is compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Hue and Nest. Perfect for mounting above a door, this high-definition IP camera features two-way audio, night vision, cloud storage, a 130-degree field of vision, and motion and sound detection.

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